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love is not to be immediately divided betwixt Him and our neighbour, or any creature, but is first all to be bestowed on Him, and then He diffuses, by way of reflection, so much of it upon others as He thinks fit. Being all in His hands, it is at His disposal; and that which He disposes elsewhere, (as here, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,) it is not taken off from Him, but abiding still in Him, as in its natural place, (as light doth in the sun,) flows forth from Him by such an emanation as divides it not; as beams flow forth from the sun and enlighten the air, and yet, are not cut off from it.
So then, the second is like unto the first, because it springs from it, and depends on it. It commands the same affection; love, in the former, placed on God, and in this, extended from Him to our neighbour. And it is like unto it in this too; that, as the former is the sum of the first Table, and so, the first and great commandment, so, this is the sum of the second Table, and therefore next unto it in greatness and importance.
All the precepts that can be found in the Law and the Prophets, are reducible to these, and all obedience depends upon this love. 1. Consider this, how these are the sum of this Law. 2. Consider them particularly in themselves.
Not only because it is love that facilitates all obedience, and is the true principle of it, that makes it both easy to us, and acceptable to God; but besides this, that love disposes the soul for all kinds of obedience, this very act of love is in effect all that is commanded in the Law. For the first, laid to the first Table, it is so much one with the first commandment, that it expresses most fitly the positive of it, opposite to that which is there forbidden: Thou shalt have no other gods before Mebut shalt have Me alone for thy God, or bestow all divine affection, and all worship that is the sign and expression of it, upon Me only. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and, if thou lovest Me alone, thou wilt not decline to any kind of false worship. That were to vitiate thy affection, and to break that conjugal love and fidelity to which thou art
bound by covenant, being My people as by a spiritual marriage. Therefore is idolatry so frequently called, in the phrase of the prophets, adultery and uncleanness.
And, in the letter of that second commandment, the Lord uses that word which in its usual sense is conjugal, and relates to marriage, I am a jealous God; and, in the close of that precept, expresseth particularly this affection of love, as particularly interested in it, though extended to all the rest, I shew mercy to thousands of them that love me.
It is not a genuine property of love, to honour and respect the name of those whom we love? And therefore, it is altogether inconsistent with the love of God, to vilify and abuse His name.
They that understand the true use of that holy rest of the sabbath-day, do know that it frees the soul, and makes it vacant from earthly things for this purpose, that it may fully apply itself to the worship and contemplation of God, and converse with Him at greater length. Then, certainly, where there is this entire love to God, this will not weigh heavy, will be no grievous task to it: it will embrace and gladly obey this fourth commandment, not only as its duty, but as its great delight. For there is nothing that love rejoices in more, than in the converse and society of those on whom it is placed: it would willingly bestow most of its time that way, and thinks all hours too short that are spent in that society. Therefore not only they who profanely break, but they who keep it heavily and wearily, who find it rather a burden than a delight, may justly suspect that the love of God is not in them; but he that keeps His day cheerfully, and loves it, because on it he may more liberally solace and refresh himself in God, may safely take it as an evidence of his love to God.
Now, that, after the same manner, the love of our neighbour is the sum of the second Table, the Apostle St. Paul proves it for us clearly and briefly, Rom. xiii. 9, 10. All the commandments touching our neighbour, are for the guarding of him from evil and injury. Now, Love worketh no ill to his
neighbour; therefore, Love is the fulfilling of the Law. He that truly loves his neighbour as himself, will be as loath to wrong him as to wrong himself, either in that honour and respect that is due to him, or in his life, or chastity, or goods, or good name, or to lodge so much as an unjust desire or thought, because that is the beginning and conception of real injury. In a word, the great disorder and crookedness of the corrupt heart of man, consists in self-love: it is the very root of all sin both against God and man, for no man commits any offence, but it is in some way to profit or please himself. It was a high enormity of self-love, that brought forth the very first sin of mankind. That was the bait which took more than either the colour or the taste of the apple, that it was desirable for knowledge: it was in that, that the main strength of the temptation lay, Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And was it not deep self-love to affect that? And it is still thus: though we feel the miserable fruits of that tree, the same self-love possesses us still; so that, to please our own humours and lusts, our pride, or covetousness, or voluptuousness, we break the law of God, the law of piety, and of equity and charity to men. Therefore the Apostle, foretelling the iniquities and impieties of the last times, that men shall be covetous, boasters, &c., and lovers of pleasures, more than lovers of God, sets that on the front, as the chief, leading evil, and the source of all the rest-lovers of their ownselves: Men shall be lovers of themselves, therefore, covetous; and lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, because lovers of their ownselves. 2 Tim. iii. 2. Therefore, this is the sum of that which God requires in His holy Law, the reforming of our love, which is the commanding passion of the soul, and wheels all the rest about with it in good or evil.
And its reformation consists in this, in recalling it from ourselves unto God, and reflecting it from God to our brethren. Loving ourselves sovereignly by corrupt nature, we are enemies to God, and haters of Him, and cannot love our neighbours but only in reference to ourselves, and so far as it pro
fits or pleaseth us to do so, and not in order and respect unto God. The highest and the true redress of this disorder, is that which we have here in these two precepts as the substance of all; first, that all our love ascend to God, and then, that what is due to men descend from thence, and so, passing that way, it is purified and refined, and is subordinated and conformed to our love of Him above all, which is the first and great commandment.
Here we have the supreme Object of love, to whom it is due-The Lord thy God, and the measure of it, which is indeed to know no measure*-With all thy heart, all thy soul, and all thy mind. For which, in Deut. vi. 5, we have all thy strength. Luke hath both. The difference is none, for all mean that the soul, and all the powers of it, should unite and combine themselves in their most intense and highest strength, to the love of God, and that all the workings of the soul and actions of the whole man, be no other than the acting and exercise of this love.
And it is a poor all, when
He accounts not nor accepts of any thing we can offer Him, if we give not the heart with it; and He will have none of that neither, unless He have it all. we have given it, for the great God to accept of. If one of us had the affection of a hundred, yea, of all the men in the world, yet could he not love God in a measure answerable to His full worth and goodness. All the glorified spirits, angels, and men, that are or shall be, in their perfections, loving Him with the utmost extent of their souls, do not altogether make up so much love as He deserves. Yet He is pleased to require our heart, and the love we have to bestow on Him; and though it is infinitely due of debt, yet He will take it as a gift: My son, give me thy heart. Prov. xxiii. 26.
Therefore, the soul that begins to offer itself to Him, although overwhelmed with the sense of its own unworthiness
* Modus est nescire modum, subtiliùs ista distinguere facile est magis quàm solidum,
and the meanness of its love, yet may say, Lord, I am ashamed of this gift I bring Thee, yet, because Thou callest for it, such as it is, here it is; the heart and all the love I have, I offer unto Thee, and had I ten thousand times more, it should all be Thine. As much as I can, I love Thee, and I desire to be able to love Thee more. Although I am unworthy to be admitted to love, yet, Thou art most worthy to be loved by me, and besides, Thou dost allow, yea, commandest me to love Thee. My loving of Thee, adds nothing to Thee, but it makes me happy; and though it be true, the love and the heart I offer Thee, is infinitely too little for Thee, yet, there is nothing besides Thee enough for it.
The Lord, or Jehovah, thy God.] There lie the two great reasons of love, τὸ ἀγαπητον and τὸ ἰδιὸν-Jehovah, the Spring of being and goodness, infinitely lovely; all the beauty and excellencies of the creatures, are but a drop of that ocean; -and, Thy God, to all of us the Author of our life, and of all that we enjoy; who spread forth those heavens that roll about us and comfort us with their light, and motions, and influences, and established this earth that sustains us; who furnisheth us, with food and raiment, and in a word, (and it is the Apostle's, Acts xvii. 25.) who gives us (wǹv nai wvoǹv nai Tà wávra, life, and breath, and all things; and, to the believer, his God in a nearer propriety, by redemption and peculiar covenant. But our misery is, the most of us do not study and consider Him, what He is in Himself and what to us; and therefore we do not love Him, because we know Him not.
And thy neighbour as thyself.] If we will not confess nor suspect ourselves, how much we are wanting in the former, yet, our manifest defect in this latter will discover it. Therefore, the Apostle, Rom. xiii. 10, speaks of this as all, because, though inferior to the other, yet connected with it, and the surest sign of it. For these live and die together. The Apostle St. John is express in it, and gives those hypocrites the lie plainly: If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother,